Aug 19, 2022  
2022-23 Western Washington University Catalog 
    
2022-23 Western Washington University Catalog

Environmental Studies — Geographic Information Science Emphasis, BA


Department of Environmental Studies, College of the Environment

83-88 credits

Introduction

Environmental Studies takes an interdisciplinary and holistic approach to understanding human-environment systems and environmental challenges. The Environmental Studies major includes core classes in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities to prepare our students to integrate knowledge from multiple fields of study. Our students learn to analyze and interpret complex environmental data and communicate environmental information for diverse stakeholders. The Environmental Studies major equips students to succeed as environmental professionals through experiential learning and advanced coursework in each student’s choice of an emphasis.

Why Consider an Environmental Studies Major with a Geographic Information Science Emphasis?

Many environmental systems and issues involve spatial patterns that can be analyzed, visualized, and communicated through Geographic Information Science (GIS) techniques. The GIS emphasis provides students with in-depth training in GIS theory and techniques. Our students gain advanced skills in the creation, development, management, analysis, and visualization of spatial data. We teach our students how to use GIS for a wide range of environmental applications, from modeling climate change impacts to identifying inequitable patterns of exposure to pollutants to prioritizing land for renewable energy installations or conservation easements.

Do you love maps? Are you comfortable with spatial problem solving? Do you enjoy the combination of art and science that goes into cartography? Are you curious about how spatial data can be used to explain the patterns and processes behind environmental issues? If so, then Environmental Studies with a Geographic Information Science Emphasis is the major for you! Come join us as we work together to map our world!  

 Contact Information

Department Chair
Rebekah Paci-Green
Arntzen Hall 206
360-650-2707
Rebekah.Paci-Green@wwu.edu

College of the Environment 
Professional Advisor

Kathryn Patrick
Environmental Studies 539
360-650-3520
Kathryn.Patrick@wwu.edu

 Sample Careers

GIS Technician | GIS Analyst | GIS Manager | Geospatial Analyst | Cartographer | Geographer 

 Major/Career Resources

www.wwu.edu/careers/students_choosingamajor.shtml

How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

How to Apply as a Pre-Major

At any time, you can declare yourself as a pre-major with interest in environmental studies by contacting a College of the Environment professional advisor. To become a pre-major, set up an appointment with a professional adviser on our Undergrad Academic Advising website cenv.wwu.edu/academic-advising, by visiting the College of the Environment Student Support office in Environmental Studies Building 539, or by calling 360-650-3520. 

Students are encouraged to apply to be an Environmental Studies pre-major as early as they can, ideally during their freshman or sophomore year. You do not need to complete any Environmental Studies courses before applying as a pre-major.

What happens when students become pre-majors?

Pre-major status will give you access to priority registration for Environmental Studies classes. Once you are declared as a pre-major you are assigned a College of the Environment professional advisor and a faculty advisor based on your academic interests. Your professional advisor can help you understand graduation requirements and how to navigate through your degree curriculum. Your faculty advisor can help you decide which courses to take and give you advice about how to prepare for graduate school or a future career. As a pre-major, your email is added to an email distribution list for College of the Environment majors so you will begin to receive notifications and general announcements. 

How to Apply to the Majors

After completing the 200-level ENVS Foundations courses and selecting a depth and specialization area, students can apply to move from pre-major status to major status. ENVS 201, ENVS 203, and ENVS 204 must be completed with a C- or better before applying to this major. ENVS 302 is also encouraged before applying to this major. Transfer students coming in with a Direct Transfer Agreement may apply before completing ENVS 201, ENVS 203, and ENVS 204. 
Applicants should strongly consider also taking MATH 114, CHEM 161, and either BIOL 204 or BIOL 101 as GURs; doing so will allow enrollment in a broader range of upper division science courses.

To apply, students should submit an application that includes brief answers (three to four well-formed paragraphs) to the following questions:

  • Which specific Environmental Studies degree are you selecting?
  • What relevant coursework have you completed?
  • What excites you about majoring in Environmental Studies?
  • How will the specific Environmental Studies degree you have chosen help you achieve your post-graduation career goals?
  • OPTIONAL: Are there perspectives or experiences you can bring to strengthen and diversify the field of environmental studies?
  • OPTIONAL: Do you feel that your academic transcript accurately reflects your abilities as a student? Please explain.

The application can be found on the College of the Environment website at cenv.wwu.edu/undergraduate-applications-college-environment. Applications are accepted during fall, winter, and spring quarters and must be received by 5 p.m. on October 6 (for winter quarter admission), January 15 (for spring quarter admission), or April 18 (for summer or fall quarter admission). If the deadline falls on a weekend, applications are due the following Monday.

Students are strongly advised to apply in the fall (for winter quarter admission) and spring quarters (for summer or fall quarter admission). Students who do so will be able to immediately begin 300 level Environmental Studies Foundation courses, which are pre-requisites for most other 300 and 400 level courses. Students who apply in the winter (for spring quarter admission) will not be able to take the 300-level Environmental Studies Foundation courses until fall. 

If you have any questions, please contact a professional advisor at the College of the Environment Student Support office in Environmental Studies Building 539, or by calling 360-650-3520.

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.

Environmental Studies foundation and core requirements


Environmental Studies Foundations (27 credits)


MATH 112 or suitable math placement score is necessary for some foundations courses, but higher-level math courses are recommended. Students are strongly encouraged to take chemistry, biology, and MATH 114 as part of their GUR courses to access upper-division Environmental Science courses.

Environmental Studies Core Knowledge Areas (26-31 credits)


Environmental Data Analysis and Communication (7-8 credits)


The Biophysical Environment (8-10 credits)


Culminating Experiences (8 credits)


Take any combination of the courses listed below to obtain the required 8 credits. If students take courses in this Culminating Courses category, the same courses may not be counted in other categories in this major.

Depth and Specialization


Students completing Environmental Studies degrees must choose a pre-defined emphasis, a pre-approved minor, or collaborate with a faculty adviser to develop a student-faculty designed plan of study. All depth and specialization pathways must include at least 22 credits of additional coursework beyond the courses used to fulfill requirements in other areas of the Environmental Studies major. See Environmental Studies programs of study for more emphasis options.

Geographic Information Science Emphasis (22 credits)


Many classes are offered only once per year and must be taken in sequence, so careful planning with an advisor is recommended.